Science and Technology Research Institutes

NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION INC

  • Oakland, CA
  • www.ncse.com

Mission Statement

To promote and to advance the teaching of science in the public schools, and to educate and inform the public about issues concerning science education through the dissemination of informative materials to schools, libraries, and interested individuals, and by engaging in cooperative activities with organizations having similar and/or compatible purposes

Main Programs

  1. Science Activism and Outreach
  2. Scientist Outreach

ruling year

1983

chief executive

Ms. Ann Reid

Self-reported by organization

co-chief executive

Mr. Glenn Branch

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

Science, Climate Change, Evolution, Education

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

11-2656357

Physical Address

420 40th St. Suite 2

Oakland, 94609

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

NCSE defends the integrity of science education against ideological interference. We work with teachers, parents, scientists, and concerned citizens at the local, state, and national levels to ensure that topics including evolution and climate change are taught accurately, honestly, and confidently.

Every student deserves a science education free from ideological interference. Our programs contribute to a future in which students leave high school knowing what science is and how scientists evaluate evidence. In an increasingly technologically sophisticated world, every citizen needs to be able to tell the difference between credible evidence and hype, fear-mongering, and the deliberate sowing of doubt. As long as topics such as evolution and climate change are presented as scientifically unsettled, too many students will leave school with serious misconceptions about the process of science. NCSE helps teachers, scientists and local communities work together to support science education free of ideological interference.

Programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Science Activism and Outreach

The Science Activism and Outreach programming engages local communities to encourage science education in the schools and to support the teachers of science. This year we are piloting a new program - The Science Booster Club. that will help local school groups to organize and give support to science teachers.

NCSE also works in specific areas in the country that require special encouragement and advocacy to ensure that evolution and climate change be taught in the schools.

Category

Education

Budget

$258,000

Population Served

Adults

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

General Public/Unspecified

Program 2

Scientist Outreach

To engage scientists in the United States to work with classroom teachers

Category

Education

Budget

$93,000

Population Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

None

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    All too often, when it comes to evolution and climate change, students are not taught the straightforward evidence that evolution is the central organizing concept of the field of biology, or that human activities are affecting our climate.

    In 13% of U.S. public high school biology classes, students are taught creationism-- a religious explanation of biological diversity--not evolution. In another 59% of biology classes, evolution is not taught at all, or it is taught alongside creationism as if they are equally scientifically valid explanations of biological diversity.

    With respect to climate change, in 10% of U.S. middle and high school science classes, students are taught that human activity is not affecting Earth's climate. In another 33% of science classrooms, students are given the confusing and inaccurate message that scientists are divided about whether human or natural causes are responsible for climate change.

    The problem is that some scientific conclusions contradict or threaten deeply held religious, political, or economic values. In the case of evolution, certain Christian denominations have claimed for nearly one hundred years that evolution is inconsistent with belief in God. The recognition that human burning of fossil fuels is causing serious climate change that will require immediate and concerted action to thwart, is threatening to major industrial and political interests, resulting in extensive efforts to discredit and cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific evidence.

    When scientific topics become polarized and politicized, teachers are vulnerable to the same misrepresentations as everyone else. Many science teachers have themselves not received sound instruction on these topics, and even those who have may be reluctant to teach topics that they know to be societally controversial.

    Our vision is for every science teacher to teach evolution and climate change accurately and confidently. Teachers need to know how to handle the misconceptions and even hostility that students, parents, and community members may have about climate change and evolution. NCSE has three decades of experience helping teachers to get these concerns out of the way so that the science may be taught.

    We want every teacher to respond effectively when societal controversy surrounding evolution and climate change emerges in their classrooms. Confidence comes directly from training in how to handle questions and doubts, and indirectly in knowing that their administrators and communities will have their backs when they teach these scientific topics forthrightly.

    In the long run, we want to see a change in classroom practices so that far fewer teachers present evolution and climate change as scientifically controversial and a greater percentage report teaching evolution and climate change in accordance with science standards and the recommendations of reputable scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    As we have done for thirty years, NCSE continues to help local citizens oppose anti-science legislation, identify and block efforts to teach creationism or climate change denial in their local schools, and support the adoption of accurate science standards and textbooks.

    Our national teacher network, NCSEteach, and its flagship program, Scientist in the Classroom, are squarely aimed at those “cautious" teachers who either neglect or downplay the teaching of evolution or climate change, or who teach them as scientifically “unsettled" or controversial. We seek to recruit all teachers who teach evolution or climate change into NCSEteach. In the last year, our network has grown from around 300 teachers to nearly 4,000. Once they enroll, we provide them with examples of best practices, expose them to arguments against teaching these topics as debates, and welcome them into a network of teachers who model how to teach evolution and climate change appropriately.

    We are currently piloting a Scientist in the Classroom program to get early career scientists into classrooms to provide teachers with support when teaching climate change and evolution. We plan to ramp up this program from the 25 classroom pilot to over 100 classrooms in 2016. Eventually we will provide this program to every teacher in our NCSEteach network.

    NCSE is also launching an initiative to help local communities form science booster clubs to support and encourage their local science teachers. By providing a model, and some basic infrastructural support, NCSE aims to make it easy for local citizens to start a science booster club to benefit the science programs at their local schools. The clubs will forge a partnership with local science teachers and help those teachers acquire the resources and support they need. Whether it is funds for supplies and field trips, or volunteer help at science fairs or other enrichment events for students. Booster clubs will also raise the profile of science in their communities.

    Our first booster club, which was started in Iowa City in April of 2015, already has over 400 members, has planned and hosted two major community science events with hands-on climate change science activities, and is currently extending its first grants to local teachers. Three more booster clubs will be initiated in late 2015. This pilot program will be conducted as a formal research study, through a collaboration with the University of Iowa.

    Finally, while organization like the Pew Research Center and AAAS conduct regular surveys to measure the population's understanding of science and acceptance of evolution and climate change, NCSE is unique in surveying what is actually going on in the classroom. In collaboration with the Pennsylvania State University Population Research Institute, we conduct regular surveys to gauge how evolution and climate change are being taught.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    NCSE has nearly three decades of experience helping local citizens organize to block attacks on the integrity of science education and ensure that textbooks and science standards reflect established scientific understanding. We are the acknowledged expert in this specialized role and have an excellent reputation in the scientific and education communities. Our staff, though small (just 10 people), has scientific expertise in evolution and climate change, and unique expertise in how to deal with denial of established science, whether it emerges in the classroom, on school boards, or in state legislatures.

    We have longstanding ties to professional scientific societies, many of which, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, are formal supporting organizations. We also work closely with science teacher associations including the National Association of Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association, and climate change education organizations such as the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE).

    Finally, we have over 5,000 contributing members, who not only provide financial support, but act as our local eyes, ears, and hands in communities around the country.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Through our survey program, we keep track of how evolution and climate change are being taught. If our programs are successful, we will eventually see a shift in the proportion of teachers who are presenting evolution and climate change as scientifically debatable. Information from the surveys is itself useful to us, and to others who are interested in science education.

    In the short term, we look to increase membership in our teacher network, which currently includes 4,000 teachers. We also plan to extend the scientist in the classroom program - currently being piloted in 25 classrooms - to over 100 classrooms in the spring of 2016, and eventually to 1000's of classrooms nationwide.

    In the next 2-3 years, we look to expand our Science Booster Club pilot into dozens of communities. The pilot program - established as a research project through the University of Iowa - will give measurable results about what works and what doesn't by the end of 2016. On the basis of those results, we will make the program available nationally.

    In the winter of 2016, we are launching a campaign to recruit graduate students as members of NCSE. We will be offering them a free one-year membership, and the opportunity to participate in the Scientist in the Classroom program. Our goal is to double our membership, and substantially reduce the average age of our members. This will give us a sound financial base, and a new group of potential activists for the cause of science education.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    NCSE has successfully established itself as the pre-eminent source of advice on dealing with the impact of science denial on the classroom, especially with respect to evolution and increasingly with respect to climate change, which was added to NCSE's mandate in 2012.

    In the last two years, we have developed a strategic plan and launched programs to address the problem that thousands of science teachers are reluctant to teach subjects that they perceive to be societally controversial. The NCSEteach, Scientist in the Classroom, and Science Booster Club programs are in their infancy, but already promise to help us reach and support those teachers. A major challenge for the next few years is making these programs more widely known and incorporating more teachers and clubs into our network.

    Our collaboration with survey experts at the Pennsylvania State University has been fruitful in carrying out two comprehensive national surveys. We plan to repeat these surveys at regular intervals but have not yet secured a guaranteed funding source to do so.

Blog

The organization's Blog

Social Media

@evolution.ncse

@ncse

@NatCen4ScienceEd

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

National Center for Science Education, Inc
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION INC

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Ms. Ann Reid

co-chief executive

Mr. Glenn Branch

BIO

Ann Reid became the executive director of NCSE in 2014. For fifteen years she worked as a research biologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, where she was responsible for sequencing the 1918 influenza virus. She then served as a Senior Program Officer at the National Research Council's Board on Life Sciences for five years and then, most recently, as director of the American Academy of Microbiology. In both roles she oversaw major efforts aimed at communicating science to the public.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Brian Alters

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

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Gender
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability
This organization reports that it does not collect this information.